Flo and I had a rather healthy Sunday last weekend. They’ve just started having bicycles that we can borrow and use based on a 50c/15min basis, using mobile apps to track how long we’ve been cycling for. There are three companies as of now but the one we found having the most bicycles available for use just under where we live came from OBIKE. The bonus for us was that last weekend, we were able to use the bikes for free for an unlimited amount of time.
Flo’s still on track in training for his half marathon in August but the area where we live makes it difficult for him to run at a steady pace without running into traffic. So we downloaded the OBike app and soon after, found ourselves cycling towards East Coast Park. It took us just under a half hour and it was after sunset so the weather was quite cool.
Once we reached the park, we locked the bicycles and Flo went on his way. On hindsight, we could have left these babies unlocked since it was ‘free rental’ weekend, but since we did lock them, they ended up being reserved by other people and were peddled away soon after.
On the plus side, the app is able to locate other Obikes within our vicinity so once Flo returned from his run and had some time to cool off, we were able to find another two bikes quite quickly and cycled home. It was a really nice ride and the bicycles currently are in good condition. My only gripe is that they’re quite heavy so lifting them up onto higher pavements requires some arm muscle.
Flo and I also decided that once a week, we’ll cook dinner together. Earlier that day, we’d gone to pick up some ingredients from the Supermarket along with cold cuts and cheese for the Weltmeisterbrotchen lunch we had with Alex and Amanda. We’d seen this pretty picture posted on Instagram on a Cuban Grilled Salmon with a Tomato-Avocado Salsa and decided that we’d try to create it at home ourselves.
I guess it was partly out of hunger and partly out of tiredness that I didn’t think to halve the slab of salmon we’d bought, which was quite hefty to begin with. As you can probably guess, we ended up with a nicely crusted salmon that had a rather rare middle. I’m weird though because I actually like salmon that’s not cooked all the way through. Still, I admit that this piece could have done with a bit longer on the grill.
Also, the marinade I had it sitting in for a good 15min while Flo prepared the salsa didn’t quite seep into the fish. Thankfully, salmon generally tastes awesome with a simple dash of salt and pepper so even without the marinade leaving much of a flavour behind, the freshness of the fish kept things delicious.
I found this meal just nicely filling for a late dinner but I think Flo felt that we could have benefited from some carbs. In our excitement to follow the recipe, we kind of missed on the fact that this was merely a dish of fish with some salsa and nothing more. We’ll plan better next time.
I know that in Singapore, it’s entirely possible to pay $2.50 for a full meal especially at the hawker centre. And for most people, that is exactly what they do for every day. Most people don’t cook at home anymore and some of those who say they do merely heat up frozen foods and consider that cooking.
What I love about home cooked meals is that they speak of love and while they are not always as tasty as the food you get in restaurants, a lot of thought, care and time go into making them.
Remember my failed attempt at Jumblelaya from last week? I ended up trying my hand at it again this week but this time, I went for chicken to go with the scallops and prawns, threw in some sweet potatoes and red peppers, used Cajun seasoning, and cooked the brown basmati rice separately.
And it turned out to be a success! I was quite chuffed with myself even though I know that what I made wasn’t exactly authentic in the slightest. I enjoyed the complexity of flavours and the rice cooked to retain just that bit of bite, mixed up in all that tomatoey spiced stew. Actually, the sauce can easily be used for pasta. Anyway, I was grinning away at my ‘second time’s a charm‘ Jumblelaya as I fed my belly until my dear Flo went “I liked the crispy rice from the other time”. Say what now?
A couple days ago, I also whipped up some made-from-scratch bolognese sauce to go with wholemeal penne rigate. I used the same recipe as the mushroom bolognese one, only I substituted the grated mushrooms for lean minced beef.
And yes, authentic bolognese doesn’t have mushrooms but I love throwing vegetables into all my cooking! Regardless, the few spoonfuls of sauce I left in the pan because I didn’t want to over sauce our pasta ended up disappearing into somebody‘s tummy as I was washing the dishes – testament to how solid this recipe is!
I enjoy knowing that the ingredients I use to feed Flo and I are wholesome and fresh. It’s also my way of showing Flo how much I appreciate him after a day of him being hard at work. It’s extremely satisfying when a dish turns out well and exciting trying to cook all sorts of cuisines, even if they might not taste quite like the real deal.
Sticking to the healthy theme, I have another healthier bake to share with you. This time, I used Spelt Flour. I bought some because I plan to try another bread recipe using spelt and rye. I haven’t quite got round to the bread yet so Brown Butter Spelt Blondies it’ll have to be!
Brown Butter Spelt Blondies (Yields 1 8×8″ Square)
285g Brown Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
175g Spelt Flour
175g Plain Flour
1/2 tsp Salt
70g Dark Chocolate Chips
70g Chopped Walnuts
- Preheat oven to 175deg C and line an 8×8″ baking tin.
- Melt butter and let it brown. It will get foamy and you’ll hear it crackle and sizzle but once the sizzle stops, remove the butter from heat and allow to cool.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk eggs, sugar and vanilla until ribbon stage – this is when the mixture because light in colour, thick and voluminous.
- Whisk eggs mixture together with the brown butter to blend.
- Fold in dry ingredients in two additions until just incorporated.
- Fold in chocolate chips and walnuts.
- Bake for 18-20min.
- Allow to cool before slicing.
I did a blend of spelt with plain flour because I wasn’t sure how the blondies would turn out. The spelt flour wasn’t too prominent in taste so the caramel nuttiness of the browned butter managed to come through beautifully. The texture of the blondies was just how I like them to be – dense and fudgy . Just like the Dark Chocolate Rye Brownies that I now claim as my favourite. These blondies have to be my next favourite… Until I come up with something even more awesome!!
I might try making these again with only spelt flour but these kinds of more wholesome flours are not cheap here in Singapore. Still, for my loved ones, I think it’s worth it. As I mentioned before, it feels great knowing that what I’m feeding them is made out of the best ingredients. And no, that also doesn’t mean that I will abstain from using wheat flour. After all, life is all about balance and sometimes, it’s ok to eat foods that are a little naughtier.